Ranking the Fastest NFL Players

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(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
BetMGM @BETMGM Mar 28, 2022, 1:26 PM

The NFL has historically served as home to some of the fastest athletes of all time.

Active players like Jonathan Taylor, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Patrick Surtain have clocked times that could hold up as some of the fastest in league history.

That poses the question: Who is the fastest player in the NFL right now?

For the sake of this analysis, we will use official 40-yard times and NFL Next Gen Stats of ball carrier runs for the 2021 season. This gives us a good idea given two completely different scenarios since the 40-yard time is vastly different than the in-game competition with your football betting on the line.

The NFL began clocking times electronically in 1999. Before that, the NFL used manual timing for all Combine records, and the argument for the fastest player leaves room for plenty of human error. It is reported that Bo Jackson ran his 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.13 seconds in 1986, making him the fastest of all time. The question of the validity of that number is up for debate.

The NFL now provides specific speeds on different in-game play types with their Next Gen Stats. This information can help us understand the players who have clocked in at top speeds during games, but players who haven’t gotten a lot of tick. That’s when we turn to NFL Combine and Pro Day 40-yard dash numbers.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Raheem Mostert is the fastest player (with the ball in his hands) of the 2021 season with an 80- and a 76-yard touchdown, clocking in at a top speed of 23.09 and 22.73 mph respectively in Weeks 1 and 2.

Fastest 40-Yard Times at NFL Combine

Five years after running a 4.22 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, John Ross still holds the top spot for all-time and active players.

Here’s a look at the 10 fastest 40-yard dash times for active NFL players (including 2022 rookies):

RankPlayerYear40 Time
1John Ross20174.22
2Kalon Barnes20224.23
3Tariq Woolen20224.26
4Marquise Goodwin20134.27
5Javelin Guidry20204.29
6(t)Curtis Samuel20174.31
6(t)Andy Isabella20194.31
6(t)Parris Campbell20194.31
9Will Fuller V20184.32
9(t)Raheem Mostert20154.32

Fastest Players & Plays of 2021

All times are based on ball carriers and clocked on NFL Next Gen Stats for the 2021 season:

RankPlayerPlaySpeed (MPH)
1Jonathan Taylor67-yard rush TD22.13
2M. Valdes-Scantling75-yard receiving TD22.09
3Patrick Surtain70-yard INT TD22.07
4Jonathan Taylor78-yard rush TD22.05
5Jonathan Taylor1-yard rush TD21.83
6Derrick Henry76-yard rush TD21.8
7Jaylen Waddle57-yard reception21.8
8Henry Ruggs III51-yard reception21.78
9Devin Duvernay42-yard punt return21.76
10Ja'Marr Chase72-yard receiving TD21.74

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.